Why Does the FBI Treat Videotaping Corporate Animal Abuse as Terrorism?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
(photo: Farm Sanctuary)
Activists who expose animal abuses on factory farms face the risk of being prosecuted as domestic terrorists.
Using the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in November 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has kept files on animal rights activists who have recorded incidents of cruelty towards animals on large farming operations.  Now, though, a bureau task force has even recommended trying these individuals as terrorism suspects.
Activist Ryan Shapiro, who used the Freedom of Information Act to discover what the FBI was up to, told the Los Angeles Times that “it’s simply outrageous to consider civil disobedience as terrorism.”
“Civil disobedience” he added, “has a long and proud place in our nation’s history, from Martin Luther King to Occupy Wall Street, and the AETA takes that kind of advocacy that we celebrate from the civil rights movement and turns it into a terrorist event.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a lawsuit challenging the AETA as unconstitutional, claiming the law is too vague and is discouraging political activism.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
FBI Tracking Videotapers As Terrorists? (by Dean Kuipers, Los Angeles Times)

USDA Sides with Humane Society to Stop Slaughterhouses Using Disabled Calves for Veal (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


Jodie 12 years ago
@eric: if a person videotapes animal cruelty on a factory farm, they are considered a "terrorist". that is ridiculous. and so is your entire "what if/hypothetical" comment.
AlleyCat ALF 12 years ago
just one more bs law that president bush is responsible for. i personally find it insulting to us as a nation that we as a people are not allowed to take full advantage of our civil rights. if the us government is so concerned about civilians taking pictures, or investigating & exposing animal cruelty on factory farms then why the fu*k don't they do something to end this practice instead of wasting their linited resources prosecuting hard working ara as eco terrorists?
Eric Riley 12 years ago
to give the fbi the benefit of the doubt, many of these activists also advocate using violence (and have used violence) to stop such practices - even if the practice in question is not illegal, or (as with laboratory animal use) is already heavily regulated. if the only thing going on is the documenting of animal abuse, that's one thing - but if the documentation is accompanied by calls to threaten or intimidate people, or by calls to destroy property - that crosses a (reasonable) legal line.

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